Will voters split The Golden State into Six Californias?

January 8, 2014

A prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, frustrated by his state’s broken institutions, has launched a ballot initiative to split California into 6 states.  (Named Jefferson, North California, Silicon Valley, Central California, West California, and South California.  Fwiw.)

These pages have often extolled the virtues of doing business in the Southeast and Texas, the best climate for entrepreneurs and where we have focused our investment efforts for over twenty years.  Along the way we may have poked gentle fun at our friends in California whenever the state’s business environment fared poorly in surveys or did something like retroactively tax entrepreneurs.

So we can try to imagine the frustration engendered when a large and diverse geographic area strains under distant and schlerotic governing institutions – and we love the idea of having a state named after our 3rd president.  Hard to see how this becomes a political reality though.

But Cali ballot initiatives can get gnarly so perhaps it bears watching…

From the 12/23/13 San Jose Mercury News:

Lots of folks believe California is ungovernable. Venture capitalist Tim Draper has a solution: Six Californias, including one called Silicon Valley…

Veteran political observers were quick and unanimous in assessing the plan’s odds of success at zero. At the same time, they said Draper’s modest proposal could spark discussion about how to fix the state’s manifold problems, such as bursting prisons and jockeying over water rights.

The sheer size of California raises questions about representation and accountability. A single state Senate district has more people than all of South Dakota,” said John J. Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, east of Los Angeles…

(Draper) argued that the status quo in Sacramento, which regularly features budget gridlock and statehouse gamesmanship, “is not cutting it for our schools, our businesses, our infrastructure or our people.”

Asked by this newspaper how much of his own fortune he plans to sink into his latest political crusade, Draper deadpanned: “As little as possible.” Then he added, “I’ll make sure it gets on the ballot, so that Californians have a chance to make the decision.”




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